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 Battling the Giants - 2/10/11

Our God is STRONGER

February 10, 2011

As I write these words, I have recently celebrated my 50th birthday.  For about a week prior and as I have passed through this milestone, God has been showing me something tremendous in my life experiences and in my time of prayer, fellowship, and study of the scriptures.  He has been showing me about truths and lessons that we can learn about giants in our lives.

 

I have learned that the closer that any of us get in our walk with God, the greater will be the challenges and struggles (tests and trials) that the enemy WILL (not might) throw at us.  He is very good at this, has been doing it for a long, long time, and is not a discerner of men.  Even with the full knowledge that Jesus was God in the flesh, the enemy nevertheless tried to do to the LORD what he tries to do to you and me.  All of these efforts are designed to discourage and to get us to disqualify ourselves from fulfilling the purpose for which God has placed us here.

 

Before we are saved, these trials and struggles don’t exist in our lives or don’t bother us because we are living under the enemy’s dominion.  But after salvation and as we go through life growing in the knowledge and grace of our LORD, these trials manifest themselves as giants that we often see as too big to handle and try to avoid or pray for them to be removed.  They are often struggles in our lives that we can see are clearly not God’s will for us, yet we seem powerless to do anything about them.  They are typically sinful behavior related to the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, or the boastful pride of life.  These are the only three cards (spiritual weapons) that Satan has to play, but again, he is very good at using them.  They are the exact three cards that he played on Jesus with his three temptations during Jesus’ time in the wilderness.  He uses them very effectively against you and me to get into our minds and build strongholds.  These strongholds (feelings like “I deserve this treat or that position, feed your thirst” or “I don’t deserve to be treated like that or to suffer with this discomfort”) shift our focus from God to being on ourselves and place us into positions where, like Paul describes in Romans 7, we do things that deep inside we don’t want to do.

 

We all tend to not like to go through these situations and struggles because, well, they are hard and cause us great discomfort.  We pray for protection and relief.  But as God responded to Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 when he prayed to have his thorn removed, His grace is sufficient for us and when we understand our weakness, His strength is made perfect.  This is because all of those things that the enemy is throwing at us trying to get us to fail are only serving to make us stronger.  What the enemy means for evil, God is turning around for good (Romans 8:28) just like He did for Jesus when He was tempted in the wilderness and later killed on the cross.  In both cases, God’s grace sustained Him, then refreshed or revived Him, and then glorified Him.  James 1 emphasizes this point that when we go through these struggles, we should “count it all joy” because through them God is at work perfecting us.  Also, the fact that you are going through them illustrates that the enemy sees the life you are living as a threat to him.

 

As I begin these next 50 years, I want to take Caleb as my example and see all of these giants, not as threats or as inconveniences, but as opportunities.  They are opportunities to glorify God our Heavenly Father and to grow even stronger in His grace and knowledge.  When given his choice of territory in the promised land, at 80 years old Caleb enthusiastically chose to receive the land that had the giants in it. 

 

This is the same attitude that David had as a young teenager when he ran toward that giant Philistine.  David and Caleb (and Joshua too) both looked at the giants and thought “you look very big and formidable and could probably squish me, but MY GOD IS GREATER.”  They were both surrounded by others who saw the same giants and wanted nothing to do with them.  They stepped out on the Rock with an activating faith believing God.

 

So I want to follow that example and invite others to do so too.  In this example, God showed me the similarities and contrasts between Caleb at 80 and David as a teen.  I believe that God is raising right in our midst a young generation that will also believe like David did and in His power run BOLDLY to confront giants and claim the territory that God has given to us.

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© 2010 Gerald L. Prater

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